Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Steps to the Cure: Selena's Survival Story

Breast cancer survivors flank designer
Afua Sam (green) at previous year'sshow.
A girl I used to know from high school used to have this saying: fashion over function.

What she meant is that if an item of clothing looks good, then wear it! No pain, no gain!

I thought of this saying when I recently learned about Steps to the Cure, an amazingly altruistic function with fashion as its center piece.

 Started by Maryland-based plastic surgeon Dr. Larry Lickstein and his wife, Lori, Steps to the Cure is a runway event featuring models who are all breast cancer survivors. They have went through the pain, and now they have everything to gain.

A survivor struts her stuff down the catwalk.
Local fashion designers and fine jewelry merchants also donate their time and couture to help ensure that the models look stunning as they glide down the catwalk.

"This event aims at raising funds to support research towards breast cancer," says Afua Sam of Studio D'Maxsi. She is participating in the event as a designer. 

At a recent visit to Sam's home studio, I caught up with the charming and effervescent 'Cure' model Selena Quintanilla. Diagnosed at just 28 years old, she is now in remission from stage 3 breast cancer after two years of chemotherapy treatment.

Her name may be the same as the legendary Spanish language pop star, but the Selena Quintanilla I met in Silver Spring, Md. has a triumphant ending to her tragic tale.
Selena and Afua strike a pose next to the "BRA" dress.
Off camera, the 30-year-old survivor lifted up her shirt and showed me her scars after having a double mastectomy, followed by full reconstructive surgery.

"I'm fine with it," said Selena. She told me it was actually harder for her to lose her hair (which used to be long), than it was for her to lose her breasts.

I was truly touched after meeting her and hearing her story. I know that she is here do to some great things in this world, and I really feel that it was a gift to have met her.

And this is her gift to you: As stated in the video above, the doctors told Selena that she did not have cancer the first time she went to check a lump in her breast. It was only after she went back a year later with the same lump that she was diagnosed. Now she's sharing her story in hopes that others will get checked and rechecked and checked again, if they feel like something is wrong in their bodies.

If you would like to see Selena walk down the runway at Steps to the Cure, then get mark your calendar for April 16 at Valley Mansion in Baltimore. Click here for more details.


Let's Connect!

P.S. - Check out this video from the other Selena Quintanilla, dedicated to all of you survivors out there!


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